Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Right Horse Initiative?
The Right Horse Initiative, a program of the ASPCA, brings together the expertise of the horse industry, equine welfare professionals and advocates in a collective effort to promote adoption as a method to finding your next horse.
We work with a network of national partners to support horses in transition through education, training, and public awareness. By working together, we are improving the lives of thousands of horses and massively increasing horse adoption in the United States.
Can I donate to The Right Horse Initiative?
What isn’t working with equine adoption? Why does the conversation need to be reframed?
The Right Horse and its partners have an opportunity to reframe public perception of equine adoption by working together toward a shared, common goal. Historically, equine welfare advocates and the equine industry have not been great at working collaboratively to promote good outcomes for horses. We want to see that change – for the sake of the horses we all seek to protect. Divisiveness over specific issues has often splintered the conversation, and distracted us from the need to work together for successful and safe adoption programs. We don’t want our disagreements on strategy to hinder us from making progress with equine welfare. The Right Horse and its partners intend to change the pace of progress through collaboration, ideation and innovation.
How can I, as an individual, support The Right Horse?
There are many ways to support The Right Horse and our mission. Visit our How to Help page for ideas on how you can help support horses in transition.
I want to adopt a horse. Can you help with me with that?
We’re so happy to hear you are considering adoption! The Right Horse Initiative launched a web app that lists adoptable horses called My Right Horse to help you find the perfect horse. You can browse hundreds of adoptable horses by breed, age, discipline or location. Whatever you need, the right horse is out there, and we will help you find him or her.
Who are The Right Horse partners?
All Right Horse partners share a goal to improve the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition. They are dedicated to supporting programs and practices that promote collaboration between stakeholders in both the equine and welfare industries. Our partners have shown an outstanding level of commitment to this ethos and demonstrate a clear interest in reframing the conversation. They are proactively participating in innovative solutions, options and best practices that support horses in transition and horse owners.
Who are The Right Horse industry partners?
Our industry partners are a group of corporations, organizations and associations who consider equine welfare as a priority and want to get involved in making a difference. These organizations do not actively participate in rescuing, housing or adopting horses but are playing an important role in helping horses in transition.
One recent example involves our industry partners who provided items and information for the new adoption kits, which were given to adopters by our adoption partners. Zoetis, Absorbine, The Arabian Horse Association, Horse Illustrated and Monty Roberts each provided items and services to welcome adopters to horse ownership. The adopter kits were also a step in making the method of adoption inviting to the larger industry of horsemen and horsewomen. Learn more about how each of these partners are contributing in different ways by reading the Stakeholder series on our blog.
Our industry partners are leaders and innovators who have committed to helping horses and improving equine welfare.
Who are The Right Horse adoption partners?
The Right Horse adoption partners are part of a unified effort to promote adoption as a preferred method of finding your next horse. As a partner to The Right Horse Initiative, they are championing education, proper training and public awareness on a national level to improve the lives of thousands of horses and massively increase equine adoption in the United States.
The Right Horse Initiative partners are encouraged to develop pilot programs to test big ideas to help place more horses in transition. To support this innovative thinking, The Right Horse Initiative provides grants to fund pilot programs and adoption efforts.
The adoption partners are the core of The Right Horse Initiative and are the heartbeat that makes our collective work possible. They are defining and supporting best practices, staying on top of welfare and adoption trends, spreading the word about The Right Horse Initiative and engaging in collaborative efforts to support horses in transition and provide better options to horse owners.
How can my organization become a Right Horse partner?
The Right Horse Initiative has just begun to make progress — and we believe this is a marathon, not a sprint. Partners are selected based on a shared philosophy. We are looking for partners that are serious about helping horses find quality homes and reframing the conversation about adoption. The partners we seek take all forms. We will have adoption partners, corporate partners, education partners, training partners, veterinarian partners and funding partners. We expect our partners to see the bigger picture, as well as their individual role. We expect our partners to take risks with us in trying new things and help us innovate new ideas to truly change equine welfare for the better. Most importantly, we want partners who think big. If our message speaks to you, please get in touch with us and tell us who you are.
What does the Right Horse mean by “innovative adoptions?”
Most equine adoption centers could place more horses in adoptive homes if they had more resources to provide training to horses while in transition. In some instances, horses may require only minimal finishing training to transition into a new career. “Innovative adoptions” are new ideas, practices and programs for transitioning and training highly-adoptable horses. At The Right Horse, we encourage industry and welfare advocates to come to us with groundbreaking, innovative ideas for doing things differently – and doing things better. Below are a few examples of innovative adoption pilot programs The Right Horse currently supports:
- Harmony Equine Center: The Right Horse piloted a program at Harmony Equine Center (HEC) to provide a regional training hub. Local equine adoption groups brought their horses in transition to HEC for training. Once the training was complete, HEC performed the adoption or the horse was be sent back to the original center to be adopted with newly learned skills. The goal was to assist local groups in providing better-trained and more desirable horses to adopters. In addition, the program boosted movement in adoption centers, decreasing length of stay while increasing the ability to take on additional horses.
- Colorado State University: There is always a demand for good, trained horses by riding instructors and Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) programs. The Denver Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center partnered with Colorado State University’s Equine Sciences program to put a group of horses into training with Colorado State University students with the goal of having them ready for adoption after a two-semester training class. The horses are being trained with the goal of graduating into a riding academy or EAAT program.
- New Vocations: A great example of a collaborative program is the pilot program was implemented by New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the Pony Club. New Vocations offered off-the-track thoroughbreds to Pony Club members, as well as providing them with a stipend to cover the cost of care. This program is a win/win for the Pony Club members and for the horses coming off the track as they transition into a new career.
What is The Right Horse's position on euthanasia?
At The Right Horse, our primary goal is to massively increase the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States. We recognize the great work our partners are doing on behalf of adoptable horses and support them in these efforts, including instances when doing the right thing also requires doing the hard thing.
Horse owners frequently find themselves in tough situations when addressing end-of-life options for their horse. Historically, most communities in the United States do not have access to shelter options for owners needing to surrender their horse. In many communities, humanely euthanizing and disposing of a deceased horse is prohibitively costly. As a result, if an owner isn’t successful at independently selling or re-homing their horse, some horse owners take their horse to auction as an alternative to addressing end-of-life care. While auctions can be a useful tool for transitioning some horses, many horses fall into unfortunate circumstances at auctions which often result in suffering.
In other cases, horse owners refuse to sell their horse at an auction, but do not have the financial means to pay for humane euthanasia. These horses often experience “pasture neglect” and can endure unnecessary and prolonged pain and suffering.
In addition to supporting the work of industry and adoption partners throughout the United States, The Right Horse funds community resources, such as open admission shelters. These programs provide open admission access, giving owners a humane alternative for end-of-life options. Owners can surrender their horse to a shelter at no charge, at which point the shelter will determine if the horse is a candidate for training and/or adoption.
At times, horses surrendered are determined to be unadoptable due to their condition, age, health or temperament. Horses that are not candidates for adoption may be humanely euthanized in accordance with the American Association of Equine Practitioners Guidelines on Humane Euthanasia. Conditions that warrant euthanasia may include:
- Incurable, progressive disease or lameness
- Debilitation that cannot be corrected
- Severe traumatic injury
- Repeated dangerous behaviors
- Unresolvable suffering for any reason
- Horses requiring continuous analgesic medication for pain or individual box stall confinement for the rest of the animal’s life
As horse lovers and advocates, The Right Horse and our partners have devoted our efforts to supporting horses however we can. Our partner agencies work tirelessly to ensure that the horses in their care are placed in caring, responsible homes. They are leading the way when it comes to developing innovative solutions and ethical standards for adoption. The decision to euthanize is not made without thorough review and careful consideration by our partners, with veterinary input, who determines what is in the best interest of the horse. Ultimately, we all believe that by providing end-of-life alternatives and support to owners in need, the number of horses in transition facing neglect situations can be reduced. With proper evaluation and training, many surrendered horses can be transitioned safely into new homes – and it is an honor to play a part in supporting those positive outcomes.